Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on “Commonsense” Medicaid Work Requirements

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas believes welfare programs should have a balance of responsibility and compassion. He supports commonsense Medicaid work requirements because they provide a safety net for the truly needy while encouraging able-bodied adults to move from dependency to work.

Having a job is the best way to reduce government dependency, yet 52 percent of able-bodied adults on Medicaid do not work at all. Medicaid work requirements motivate able-bodied recipients to work, train, or volunteer, and exclude those with disabilities, seniors, and other truly needy populations.  

“It brings some responsibility into the mix of a social benefit,” explains Gov. Hutchinson. “But it also meets an incredible need that we have in the state, and that is to move people from dependency into work.”

Today, Medicaid consumes nearly 30 percent of state budgets—or nearly one out of every three dollars. Every dollar spent on able-bodied adults on Medicaid is a dollar that can’t be spent on the truly needy, education, roads, or public safety.

Arkansas became the first state in the nation to implement Medicaid work requirements—and the reform worked. In just a few short months, 14,000 Arkansans left Medicaid due to increases in their incomes. Taxpayers were projected to save up to $300 million per year. Gov. Hutchinson continues to fight on behalf of Arkansans to have them restored.

“It’s easy to stick with the plan of a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients whenever it meets the test of common sense. Every Arkansan that you talk to, when you explain it to them, and you show the parameters of it, they understand it,” says Gov. Hutchinson.

“It balances responsibility with the compassion that we all have in society and it’s a good balance.”